Skin conditions and the food you eat

If you are one of the 80% of the population suffering from some kind of skin condition, be it in the form of acne, eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea to name just a few – you may be shocked to learn that your diet could be the main reason for your issues.

Believe it or not, our skin is the body’s  largest organ.  It doesn’t simply serve as a protective defense between your insides and the rest of the world, but directly shows the internal health of our body. When a problem shows up on the skin, this is normally a sign that something has gone wrong inside us.

So why then do many of us seriously neglect this very important part of our bodies?  We take it for granted, almost thinking of it as an old overcoat that will be there for us no matter what happens.

When we begin to develop skin conditions, it is our bodies way of telling us that something on the inside is not serving us well.

Let’s take a closer look at common skin problems and the links to diet.

Acne

Acne for instance (apart from being linked to our hormones), is a sign that the body is not properly removing toxins in the gut.  In turn, skin cells do not renew properly and become blocked, creating pimples, spots and even boils.  Food intolerance’s show up on the skin and include consuming dairy, sugar and red meat.  When our hormones are imbalanced, this too is largely down to the food we are eating.  If a woman consistently suffers PMT symptoms, changing her diet will significantly improved the problem.

Foods that Trigger Acne

Avoid dairy including milk, cheese, yogurt, and whey from all grazing animals, although you may find you can tolerate goat or sheep’s milk products better than cow’s milk derived products. Avoid refined processed sugars, including cakes, biscuits, confectionery etc. and including shop bought sauces and most packaged foods (ready meals, crackers etc). Alcohol creates inflammation in the gut so limit or cut your alcohol intake. Stay away from acidic foods including processed foods and packaged ready meals, red meat, high fat foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, sweeteners and salt.

Foods that Heal Acne

Increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables for their antioxidant content (particularly yellow and green vegetables, and red and dark berries). Aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily — drunk separately from meals and sipped slowly to avoid stress on the kidneys. For variety, drink natural fruit juices, organic vegetables juices and herbal teas. (avoid shop bought fruit drinks and sodas as they are high in sugar).  Look for none concentrate versions. Increase the intake of essential fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower). Increase vegetarian sources of protein. Vegetarian diets have been shown to ameliorate the symptoms of acne. This includes beans, lentils, pulses, soy products, nuts and seeds.

Dermatitis

Dermatitis refers to inflammation of the skin. It can take the form of different types and can cause itching and redness, including causing your skin to blister, “weep,” or peel. The most common type, which can also be severe and long-lasting, is atopic dermatitis (AD).

Foods that Trigger Dermatitis

Dairy, white wheat and pasta, red and processed meat, sugar, coffee and tea, all acidic foods including packaged ready meals and alcohol.

Foods that Heal Dermatitis

Fresh fruit and vegetables, for their antioxidant content (particularly yellow and green vegetables, and red and dark berries).  Wholegrains.  Good fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower).  Protein in the form of beans, lentils, pulses, soy products, nuts and seeds.  Drink plenty of water.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a noncontagious skin condition that produces plaques of thickened, scaling skin. The dry flakes of skin scales are thought to result from the excessively rapid proliferation of skin cells triggered by inflammation in the body produced by specialized white blood cells called lymphocytes. Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.  GPs commonly tell sufferers that Psoriasis is a life long condition, but they often fail to explain that changes in the diet can virtually cure it.

Foods that Trigger Psoriasis

Avoid dairy including milk, cheese, yogurt, and whey from all grazing animals, although you may find you can tolerate goat or sheep’s milk products better than cow’s milk derived products. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as all white bread, pasta and rice. Avoid all forms of saturated fats from red meat and processed red meat as these encourage inflammation.  Reduce the intake of animal protein from red meat such as beef, pork, lamb because this is attached to high levels saturated fat. Avoid refined processed sugars, including cakes, biscuits, confectionery etc. and including shop bought sauces and most packaged foods (ready meals, crackers etc). Alcohol creates inflammation in the gut so limit or cut your alcohol intake. Acidic foods that you should stay away from alkaline include processed foods and packaged ready meals, red meat, high fat foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, sweeteners and salt.

Foods that Heal Psoriasis

Increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables for their antioxidant content (particularly yellow and green vegetables, and red and dark berries). Aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily — drunk separately from meals and sipped slowly to avoid stress on the kidneys. For variety, drink natural fruit juices, organic vegetables juices and herbal teas. (avoid shop bought fruit drinks and sodas as they are high in sugar).  Look for none concentrate versions. Increase the intake of essential fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower). Increase vegetarian sources of protein. Vegetarian diets have been shown to ameliorate the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. This includes beans, lentils, pulses, soy products, nuts and seeds.

Eczema

There are many types of eczema, but the most common type is atopic eczema. Thought to be hereditary and triggered by allergens, atopic eczema is most common in children, but can reappear during adult years. Figuring out what causes it to flare up and treating the symptoms is the best course of action to take for longterm maintenance.

Symptoms of eczema include:

  • Small fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) on the fingers, hands, and feet
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Flaking
  • Scaly, cracked skin
  • Pain
  • Dryness, to the point of peeling and flaking
  • Cracks in the skin
  • Blisters
  • Wet, open sores

Foods that Trigger Eczema

Avoid dairy including milk, cheese, yogurt, and whey from all grazing animals, although you may find you can tolerate goat or sheep’s milk products better than cow’s milk derived products. Avoid Gluten. Wheat, barley, rye, einkorn, farro, kamut, and spelt are gluten based grains. Gluten free whole grain substitutes you should try are quinoa, millet, amaranth, teff, buckwheat and sorghum.   Avoid eggs.  Chicken eggs are a big eczema trigger for many people. In some cases quail, goose, and duck eggs can be tolerated, but it’s best to avoid all eggs at first.  Avoid soy. Tofu, soy milk, seitan, miso, tempeh, edamame are some examples of products containing soy. But beware, hidden soy can be found in so many processed foods on the shelf.  Peanuts and anything containing peanut oil.  Acidic foods that you should stay away from include processed foods and packaged ready meals, red meat, high fat foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, sweeteners and salt.

Foods that Heal Eczema

By maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables, long suffering eczema can be healed.

Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin condition that mainly affects a person’s face. When rosacea first appears, the face may look flushed. Later symptoms include permanent redness, spots, visible blood vessels and a sensation of burning or tingling, mainly around the cheeks and nose area.

Foods that Trigger Rosacea

Exactly the same as Eczema – Avoid dairy including milk, cheese, yogurt, and whey from all grazing animals, although you may find you can tolerate goat or sheep’s milk products better than cow’s milk derived products. Avoid Gluten. Wheat, barley, rye, einkorn, farro, kamut, and spelt are gluten based grains. Gluten free whole grain substitutes you should try are quinoa, millet, amaranth, teff, buckwheat and sorghum.   Avoid eggs.  Chicken eggs are a big eczema trigger for many people. In some cases quail, goose, and duck eggs can be tolerated, but it’s best to avoid all eggs at first.  Avoid soy. Tofu, soy milk, seitan, miso, tempeh, edamame are some examples of products containing soy. But beware, hidden soy can be found in so many processed foods on the shelf.  Peanuts and anything containing peanut oil.  Acidic foods that you should stay away from include processed foods and packaged ready meals, red meat, high fat foods, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, sweeteners and salt.

Foods that Heal Rosacea

Increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables for their antioxidant content (particularly yellow and green vegetables, and red and dark berries). Aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily — drunk separately from meals and sipped slowly to avoid stress on the kidneys. For variety, drink natural fruit juices, organic vegetables juices and herbal teas. (avoid shop bought fruit drinks and sodas as they are high in sugar).  Look for none concentrate versions. Increase the intake of essential fatty acids from oily fish, nuts and seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower). Increase vegetarian sources of protein. Vegetarian diets have been shown to ameliorate the symptoms of atopic dermatitis. This includes beans, lentils, pulses, soy products, nuts and seeds.

Don’t wait until your skin begins to act out.  Swap your diet today for healthy fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, seeds and vegetable protein and look amazing.

 

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